With all of the strife around the low royalties offered to musicians from the top music streaming services, not to mention the cookie cutter plague the major labels have thrusted upon us since the 70's, it was only a matter of time before someone stepped in and tried to change the game to make sure the actual artists get a fair pay. Enter... Stage Left... Audiocoin.
With the advent of the internet, and then easily performed micro-transactions, things have slowly begun to change for artists. It could be said that it all began with crowd-funding, where fans could pre-fund any venture and be promised an array of rewards such as inclusion in the thank you notes, special editions of the product, or even creative input. In our case, die hard fans of a band could come together to front $30,000 to afford their favorite group the opportunity to hit the studio and pay for mixing and mastering.
Crowd-funding (also known as peer-to-peer fundraising) is still a great option, as seen by the ever expanding reach of Kickstarter. An even more interesting angle is that of Patreon, which allows fans to subscribe and offer a monthly donation to their favorite artists to help assure the artist that their time is being well spent and contributions well appreciated.
These concepts are great in that they empower the fans and artists while removing the middle corporation which served to expand distribution and marketing, but is hardly necessary these days. The problem with these models is that they still insert a middle-man that siphons a portions of the fan contributions. This is where Audiocoin comes in!
The digital music market is a continually growing phenomenon. But the problem remains the same when you look at who is in control and how little of a profit share is actually being given to the producers of the music. From streaming services like Spotify to marketplaces like iTunes, nobody is earning a living wage but the major labels that own the masters.
The music community website Aurovine is seeking to change this, connecting artists and fans directly to enable them to support each other's needs and wishes. It can be seen as a creative and economic collaboration. But what makes this different than something like MySpace, SoundCloud, or any of the other online musical communities? The answer is: Audiocoin.
Audiocoin is to music as Bitcoin was to... well, Bitcoin is growing now so we don't need to go there. The idea is that these digital currencies are decentralized and can be sent to one another directly, securely, and anonymously if needed. They aren't subject to transaction fees, taxes, conversion rate robbery, brokerage charges, tariffs, and more. You simply send what you wish or what is asked, and the receiver gets that amount, worldwide, any time of the day, with no limits or sneaky games. It's very transparent and nearly impossible to fall victim to fraud as long as you control your own digital wallet or trust it to an exchange.
To understand the entire infrastructure of the blockchain, digital wallets and addresses, solving hashes, and digital currency mining to distribute and equalize the economy is far beyond the scope of this column. If you find you're interested and serious about Audiocoin, there are plenty of resources concerning cryptocurrencies that you will find with a quick visit to a search engine.
Aurovine makes sure the artist receives the money sent from fans in full. It makes sure they are compensated for the streams of their songs they upload to the community. They also help incentivize everyone to become involved in the marketing of their favorite bands.
How is this trifecta accomplished?
Aurovine is able to do this because, unlike Bitcoin which was generated entirely through mining, Audiocoin was partially pre-mined by Aurovine in order to help place the currency in the hands of the intended parties, not just opportunistic techies with money to burn on GPU's.
But even the techies aren't excluded, because they help raise awareness of this currency. Through the general cryptocurrency exchanges, they can purchase Audiocoin with cold, hard cash, sell it for cash, or trade it for Bitcoin or any of the other currencies out there. Audiocoin is not meant to be entirely isolated to the music community.
I can imagine a world where Audiocoin is adopted by all of the major music store retailers, not only those who sell music but also musical equipment. Consider the scenario where a fan decides to purchase an album from their favorite band for 10 ADC (the abbreviation for Audiocoin). At this time, 1 ADC may be equivalent to 1 USD. They decide to throw in 3 extra ADC as a tip.
It just so happens that one of the members lost a few cables and a guitar pedal at the last gig, so they roll down to a store such as Guitar Center. Due to the mass adoption amongst those of us in the music world, they pay for these items entirely in ADC.
Later that night, they head to the studio for a three hour session of recording for the new album. The tracking engineer and the mixing engineer prefer to be paid in USD but are aware of ADC enough that they both have personal wallets. They receive their payment in ADC and immediately head to their preferred general cryptocurrency exchange and swap 90% of their ADC over to USD right then and there. They change the other 10% into BTC and Litecoin as an investment.
As of the time of this writing, Audiocoin is trading at $0.000285 USD. Yes, you read that right. 1 ADC is worth a very small fraction of a penny. Which is how Bitcoin started before it rose astronomically to $20,000 USD per BTC. Audiocoin is very new, at most a month old at the original time of this writing in 2015. Which is why the pricing is not very volatile yet:
A friend of mine who is deeply involved in trading these cryptocurrencies was kind enough to suggest I install a wallet, after which he sent me 100,000 ADC (at around $0.0000031 USD each). I'm holding them as an investment and staking them, which returns a small percentage to me as an incentive for being a part of the network and community. If ADC climbs to even $0.10 each, that initial share will climb to $10,000 USD. I am likely going to purchase more within the next couple of days while they are dirt cheap.
Let's hope to the high heavens that this explodes! It's what we need as a collective and what I need as a lump sum (only kind of joking).
With this being such a new cryptocoin, the time to get involved is now. The boat won't sail too fast but getting in while the gettin' is good and cheap is the goal. You have several options, two of which involve ponying up a little money.
The idea is that you want to position yourself now as an early adopter. So when it grows, and it undoubtedly will grow thousands of percentages, you will be sitting real pretty financially. That's the reward of adopting early. The risk is that it could go nowhere, but your involvement and those of every other opportunist help ensure that it will go, and go, and go.
The main thing is to spread the word and raise awareness! Even if you don't buy in or earn in, just tell someone. We need to take back the industry from those who don't care about anything but their yachts and lake houses.
Let me get my own embarrassment out of the way. At one point I bought a new computer and while transferring data I somehow lost my wallet. I lost all my ADC and my BTC. Pretty ridiculous. But how is Audiocoin doing in general?
Björk, a global music sensation, has now adopted ADC payments for her 2017 Utopia album as well as giving 100 ADC to anyone who purchased the album. You can now shop her entire merchandise line using ADC as well. The currency partnered with the SXSW festival in 2018, offering rewards to attendees for being at the venue. Milico Studios, a fairly well known recording studio working with big names such as Madonna, Oasis, Adele, and more are to begin accepting ADC as payment at any of their 80 studio locations around the world.
Aurovine is pushing this to the limit as hard and fast as they can and are looking at relaunching their streaming service as well. I'm grateful to them, happy for them, and excited for what this can do for the music industry in the next four years. Until then, start investing!